Second Rhapsody - Violin 2

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Dichter manages these assignments with his well-known virtuosity and musical good taste. They had the title roles in the recent Metropolitan Opera production, although here they appear with the Berlin Radio Symphony under Leonard Slatkin. Estes is first-class not only in Porgy's music but also in a couple of Sportin' Life's songs. Diane Curry assists in the role of Maria, and Mr.

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Slatkin gets the German ensemble to play with commendable style. The recording is attractive in its special way, but one wishes Mr. Ferde Grofe, best known for his arrangements, wrote several suites about Americana, of which the most famous is the ''Grand Canyon Suite. The music is predictable, decently crafted and designed to please Boston Pops-type audiences. Walter Piston's String Quartets Nos.

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These are typical works from the New England composer, whose musical speech is direct and concise in rapid movements, eloquent and unsentimental in slow ones. Certainly the Lento of the Third Quartet and the Adagio of the Fourth deny the once standard opinion that Piston's music was dry and academic.

It is good to have these pieces available, and the Portland ensemble presents them with strength and clarity. Speculum Musicae, New York's remarkable ensemble devoted to contemporary music, plays three pieces in a 15th-anniversary album Bridge BDG Lieberson, who will be 40 next year; Mr. Wuorinen, who is 47, and Mr. Shifrin, who died in at the age of 53, were born in New York City. This may be an irrelevant fact except that they used or still use somewhat similar very sophisticated, complex and modern musical languages.

The pieces do have in common a sportive nature, however serious they are in the creation.

Lieberson notes that the title of his piece is a Sanskrit word meaning ''passionate sport'' or ''play. Wuorinen works to more robust and lively ends with its steady use of the conga drums, while the Shifrin composition maintains a lively juxtaposition of contrasting ideas for its considerable length.

Bartók: Rhapsody for Violin & Piano No. 2, BB 96a, Sz. 89 (page 1 of 1) | Presto Sheet Music

The performances, of course, give a perfect idea of Speculum's extraordinary ability to make contemporary music sound easy and polished. John Cage's ''Etudes Boreales'' and ''Ryoanji'' have been recorded by Mode Records in Volume I two disks of a series to be devoted to the composer's music.

The etudes were conceived as a solo version for piano, a solo version for cello and a combined version for the two instruments. The pianist, in this case Michael Pugliese, uses all parts of the piano for the distinctive sounds that follow one another.

Rhapsody No. 2 (Bartók)

Frances-Marie Uitti, as cellist, plays fragmentary phrases over the full range of the instrument. The pairing carries more interest than the solo performances, but all versions of the etudes are strictly for Cageans. At the same time he was to continue working as a conductor.

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Composition inevitably had to take second or third place, and it was principally as a concert pianist, one of the greatest of his time, that he became known to audiences. In Rachmaninov's first symphony had been performed in St. Petersburg under the direction of Glazunov, who, according to his wife's later account, was drunk at the time. The work was badly played and received a hostile critical reception. Cesar Cui, indeed, a surviving member of the Mightly Handful, the five leading Russian nationalist composers, described it as a student programme symphony of the Seven Plagues of Egypt, an unflattering judgement that contributed to the composer's depression and loss of confidence.

Nikolay Dahl, under whom Rachmaninov had undergone a course of psychiatric treatment that restored his creative urge. The second and third movements of a work that was to prove to be one of the most popular romantic piano concertos, were completed in the summer of and the first movement in the following year. In November it was performed in Moscow under the direction of Rachmaninov's cousin, Alexander Ziloti, with the composer as soloist and was received with the greatest enthusiasm. The work has retained its position in the repertoire, although it has at the same time served as a model for regrettably vulgar imitations that have nothing of the innovative inspiration of the original.

The first movement of the concerto opens with eight dramatic chords from the piano, followed by the first theme from the strings, accompanied by piano arpeggios.

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The second subject, played by the soloist, is introduced by a phrase on the viola, rhapsodic style by the pianist in a development and in a recapitulation to which the soloist adds an initially martial element. In the slow movement the orchestra moves gently from the key of C minor to the remote key of E major, in which the soloist enters with characteristic figuration. The principal theme is introduced by flute and clarinet, before being taken up by the soloist. The more rapid central section of the movement suggests the mood of a scherzo, leading to a powerful cadenza.

With scarcely a pause the orchestra introduces the final movement, a further cadenza leading to the first theme, with a second announced by the oboe and violas. Both are treated rhapsodically by the soloist, the second theme forming a romantic contrast to the more energetic rhythm of the first. The Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini was written in the space of a few weeks in and is based on the theme used by Paganini as the basis of a set of solo violin variations that form the last of his 24 Caprices.

The melody was to serve other composers, such as Brahms and Liszt, and has continued to do so. To Rachmaninov the Paganini theme suggested the complementary use of another, more ancient melody, that of the sequence that once formed part of the Latin Requiem Mass , the Dies irae. This second melody, which Rachmaninov had used appropriately enough in The Isle of the Dead, was to appear again in his final work, the Symphonic Dances of